The Annual Thanksgiving Mailbag Episode

Posted: November 25, 2020 by Nazim in Episode!

Happy Thanksgiving, folks.  This year’s mailbag covers everything from pandemic oral arguments to best Thanksgiving pies, with a lot of things in between.  The law never starts, and this is light on law even for our standards.

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Takings Clause Me Home Tonight

Posted: November 22, 2020 by Nazim in Episode!

This week’s amazingly-titled episode discusses the case of Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, which asks whether a California law that grants labor organizers access to private property violates the Fifth Amendment.  The law kinda starts at (11:00), but actually starts at (13:40), which is indicative of the legal focus in this episode.

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Brett “the Hitman” Kavanaugh

Posted: November 15, 2020 by Nazim in Episode!

This week’s episode covers the oral argument in California v. Texas, in which the Court once is asked to determine the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.  Brett and Nazim start the law at (05:00), but get into the merits of the decision at (14:06).  Then somewhere towards the end Nazim reviews obscure Midwestern cherry candy.

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A possibly-obvious preamble: other parties, including Democrats, are also inconsistent and shift priorities based on opportunism. The main thrust of this article is that Republicans are much more consistently opportunistic, to the point that the only reliable party platform it has consistently held in the past few decades is to simply obstruct the Democrats. 

An old example that I can bring to bear is how the party that is most beloved by the National Rifle Association supported and passed gun control legislation under Reagan, when he was governor of California. What on earth would cause this? Because disarming politically active minorities was a bigger priority than their sacred second amendment rights. And before anyone dismisses the Black Panther Party as a violent extremist group, which is how it was painted in mainstream media, it bears noting that most of their fears turned out to be correct: it turns out the police were unfairly targeting black people and the federal government was illegally monitoring them

Even before that, the Republican party’s Southern Strategy was only opportunistic. Before the party leadership to make it an issue because they realized it could drive a wedge between southern voters and the Democratic party, Evangelicals favored abortion rights for women. The Southern Baptists, the largest evangelical organization in the US,  passed resolutions to that end at their Conventions of 1971, 1974 and 1976. However, once the party saw the opportunity, evangelical organizations pivoted and made it a political issue

Despite being the laissez-faire party of economic and personal liberalism, Republicans started and supported the War on Drugs as a way to control minorities during the war and civil rights protests of the 1970s. And not necessarily because they were racist – merely politically convenient

More recently, before the health care framework was implemented in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, it was originally concocted by the very conservative Heritage Foundation and then adopted by Republican then-governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. And while I’ve criticized the legislation before (let’s face it, it’s a gift to the private health care insurance industry to require folks to carry health care insurance), taking it down now has become merely a battle-cry for Republican leadership, even though they decided not to do anything about it when they held both houses in Congress and the Presidency.

Perhaps most recently, the Republican senate majority leader Mitch McConnel, as well as many other Republican Senators, had championed the idea of not even considering presidential appointees to the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, during the last year of their term. This was called the Thurmond rule, after the Senator who blocked president Lyndon B. Johnson’s appointment of Justice Abe Fortas as Chief Justice. Oddly, the Republicans only seem to apply it when the president is a Democrat, if at all.

Famously the party of fiscal responsibility, The Republican presidencies have consistently seen increases in the government’s debt, the debt-to-GDP ratio, and economic recessions. To the point where president Trump was not only outspending prior presidents before the Coronavirus epidemic, but even used the epidemic to pass a $1.2 trillion bill while refusing any oversight on it. Further, they’ve perpetrated the myth that lower taxes (the purple line in the graph below is the top income tax rate, and the blue line is the effective average corporate tax rate) boosts the economy, even though it has no impact on median wages or employment (the red line in the graph below).

chart

Of course, no party can stay in power without voter support. Again, like the other main party, the Republican party’s messaging has a significant impact on its supporters. However, it is either more effective, or the supporters have similarly malleable positions on policy, depending on whether their party favors or opposes it at any given point in time. For example: 

I’d love for this observation to age horribly, or even be inaccurate, because I personally espouse many of the ideologies that Republicans have occasionally espoused, and have frequently voted for Republicans. But, as of late 2020, it seems very much to be the case that obstructionism is the only ideology the Republicans consistently espouse. 

The Supreme Court is Not Reversing the Election

Posted: November 8, 2020 by Nazim in Episode!

This week’s episode eschews any legal analysis about the election and instead covers the somehow less stressful conversation of whether children can be sentenced to life in prison without parole in Jones v. Mississippi.  Brett’s audio is lightly wonky around minute five, but it fixes pretty quickly.  The law starts at (06:17) and the Supreme Court is not reversing the election.

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Delaware as an Allegory for Chaos

Posted: November 1, 2020 by Nazim in Episode!

This week’s extra spooky episode broadly covers the Delaware Constitutional case before the Supreme Court, Carney v. Adams, but as a mechanism for discussing the recent Supreme Court election cases in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin.  Law starts at (04:31).

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Amy Coney Barracuda

Posted: October 25, 2020 by Nazim in Episode!

This week’s episode takes a deep dive into the Senate Confirmation Hearings of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, as Brett and Nazim discuss the point of confirmation hearings and how they view Justice Barracuda’s responses.  Law starts at (06:16).

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The Old Man and the Skateboard

Posted: October 18, 2020 by Nazim in Episode!

The boys are back, folks.  This week’s episode discusses the many ridiculous Voter Suppression lawsuits that have popped up over the last few weeks and whether the State action in question is valid, or just looking to stop people from voting.  The law starts at (12:45), but this episode’s namesake begins at (07:10).  Also, our apologies for the sound quality this week, we plan on fixing it for next week.

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GUEST EP: Gabe Roth from Fix the Court

Posted: October 11, 2020 by Nazim in Episode!

Good morning.  This week, Brett is joined by Gabe Roth from Fix the Court, an organization aimed at Supreme Court reform.  Brett and Gabe discuss term limits, the proper role of the Supreme Court in democracy and ethical obligations of the justices.  Gabe can be reached at @FixtheCourt on twitter.  The regular show will return next week.

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In Memoriam Justice Ginsburg

Posted: September 20, 2020 by Nazim in Episode!

This week’s episode covers the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an American icon both on and off the Court.  Brett and Nazim discuss the impact Justice Ginsburg had on American jurisprudence and discuss the impact of appointing her replacement.

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